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Topic : Empty Nest Blues

Number of Replies: 135
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Created on : Tuesday, August 15, 2006, 11:19:51 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
The last of the kids have all left home, how do you handle your feelings of letting go of growing kids? Share advice and support with others dealing with empty nest blues.

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June 11, 2008, 3:19 pm CDT

There's a better way

When my son left for college four years ago, in another part of the country, everyone thought I was going to have a rough time. But I didn't, because it wasn't about me, it was about him. I was absolutely thrilled for him. And for myself, because I could get busy having a life of my own.

 

When college graduation approached, he enlisted in the US Army to pursue a career as a bandsman. I thought, "OK, this is going to be different. It's going to be for good this time. No summers at home or Christmas breaks. I might have a hard time with this." But I didn't, because again, it was about him, not me. And again, I'm so very thrilled for him as he embarks on this new adventure.

 

I know I'm fortunate. He's always made good choices. I don't have to worry about him, ever. I'm sure it's harder when the story is different. I just want to share my philosophy! PS: He is in basic training as I write this!

 
August 25, 2008, 3:00 pm CDT

Now it is time for you

Quote From: ajshirle

airmansmom

Don't be too hard on yourself.  It is hard not to feel BITTER after you have poured your ENTIRE life into your kids and have them seem not to care.  My mom did the same thing and to this day I have nothing to do with her due to her TOXIC way of "interacting" with me.  I made a PROMISE to myself not to repeat the same mistake.  And yes, it does hurt when my only child (21, girl) does not make time in her now busy college life, but I had to learn to "get up" "get out" and CREATE my life.  I raised her on my own, so you know I got used to her being around although we had our MAJOR dramas when she lived at home.  I am still dealing with her and her "care one moment, then does not" attitude.  Several times I have "distanced" myself from her and she begs to have me back in her life.  But I have told her that one day I will just go away and not come back as I refuse to stay in "victimville" for anyone!  I spent too many years allowing people to hurt me and I ended up depressed.  Yes, you just woke up from a coma and now it is time to find a life for yourself.  I am not BITTER towards my daughter because I did not give up my life for her the way my mom did for me and my two brothers, but I have to figure out what I want to do jobwise now that I can work because I like the job and not because I am a single parent.  Take it one day at at time.  Get some counseling.  Talk.  Find hobbies you enjoy.  I am walking myself to death (smile) just to deal with a heartbreak I experienced in December 2007 from a man I thought would not "dog" me out.  And yes, I looked to my daughter to fill the "emptiness", but the bottom line is she can not and should not.  Walking has given me some "peace of mind" and sleep at nights.  Do you enjoy anything?  I like to read too and read 4 self-help books back to back in December just to UNDERSTAND why I ALLOWED this man to "dog" me out.  Yes, I ALLOWED him and now with this "knowledge" it will not be happening again.  Thanks for sharing and please keep us posted on how you are doing.  YOU CAN DO IT !

There is no doubt it is hard to switch roles, you are still their mother, but I think most of us forget what our goals should be as parents.  Our #1 goal is to raise our children to be productive, happy members of society that can survive on their own.  But when it gets to the point that they can survive on their own, we feel lost.  Just because your children are grown doesn't mean your life is over, you now have an opportunity to do something with your life you were never able to do due to being a parent.  It is absolutely liberating I promise.  Don't think for a second that your children don't still need you, they do!  But right now they need to have their own experiences, make their own mistakes, and learn their own lessons.   How you handle them doing that will be the key as to whether they come to you when they need you.  Don't feel sorry for yourself, get out there and live!  It is never too late!  Go back to school, get a different job, volunteer with organizations in your community, the point is LIVE! You deserve it!
 
August 26, 2008, 4:22 am CDT

Wolves in Sheeps' Clothing

I'd like to unload myself and tell my story to people

in the US, as it might be a warning to others. I am an American

stranded overseas. I ask

you to forgive this hasty and extemporaneous description,

which will be more forgivable when my circumstances

become clearer to you. I am a hounded victim. I have wanted to return

to the US for the last twenty-five

years but the structure of the chaos I am in has prevented this.

Let me explain how: mainly via anthrax attacks on me. I have

been 100% blind three times. Now my eyesight is very poor.

My teeth were "attacked" over the years by a dishonest dentist

who injected anthrax into my guns and under my chin, via a hole

he drilled completely through the jaw bone. Another dentist told

me this, when it was too late. My problem now is that I am old,

prematurely aged through all the anthrax attacks. So, because

of that, criminals conspired to "kidnap" my daughter and to

stigmatize me with false accusations of mental illness, for which

they are eager to pump a lot of drugs into my bloodstream. I have

no social life, work parttime at my computer and have never

broken the law. What happened was: One day while heating milk

on the stove, I dozed off while sitting in my chair and the fumes

spread under the door before I could stop them. For this reason,

the police turned up at my door. A few weeks before this event I

had grown very worried about the situation of my daughter (grown)

She had become unreachable, eventually, even failing to pick up

her Xmas and birthday gifts. From her bank statements that were

still coming to my house, I saw that money was being withdraw on

her ATM card from banks all over the world, Switzerland, Ireland,

China, Israel, etc. I wondered what was going on with her. Because

I was disdraught with worry and speak Dutch poorly, the police threw me

Into the can and had a psychiatric facility investigate me. During that two hours

I was shut up in an airless cell, with no sink or toilet and a video camera

scanned me continuously. There was a huge grill like dome in the concrete unit. The leather mattress in the airless room stank and a zillion microbes escaped into the air from it. While removing a rubber band from my hair, a lady smeared an anthrax laden gel all over my neck and shoulders, which later developed into horrific, scabby infected places on my skin.

To make a long story shorter, my daughter eventually surfaced at her

place of parttime employment, but she was never encountered in her

own apartment, which looked abandoned. One day recently, I dropped

by her house and encountered three strangers leaving her house, locking

the door behind them and saying that my daughter should arrive back

from Nicaragua in a day or two, perhaps. Feeling these people to be

a component in the mystery and not knowing that my daughter "had returned"

nor whether her possessions had been burglarized, I decided to make a

report to the police, despite my hideous appearance, because I felt waiting

to report it later would be unsatisfactory. The police officer did not report

the episode, because there was a record of the two hour session with psychiatrist

on his computer. Instead, the health workers were called in. I realized

I was being purposely stigmatised for the two

hour session with the psychiatrist. Every piece of red-tape I try to handle,

there is always a record about me on the institutional computers. Let me say

also that there has been a surreptitious change of government, where all the

old psychiatric institutes have been usurped, just like the supermarkets and

institutions of education. They have all been taken over by a new power on the stage,

with or without due elections or public support.

Once in a while, I emailed my daughter. I used to get a brief response but the last

wrote her, I received a frightening letter of SPAM, the subject of which contained

every letter of her name, namely, the subject contained an anagram of my daughter's name.

And the content of the email was about "beheading" "amputation" "cockpits" and all sorts

of suggestive, horrific words.

One day I found a photo of my daughter with two other persons, taken about

10 years ago and one of those persons was the social worker, who has been

stigmatizing me and discussing her theories regularly, about my need for

drugs, which she wants to administer to me, with my ex-husband. I realized that

the social worker was part of the "cult" who had barred me from seeing my daughter

but that she had risen up under the new government, acquiring a job with the new

social work system and acquiring a uniform and authority. She was not a psychiatrist

but she had authority and visited my ex-husband and me regularly She never once

mentioned that she knew my daughter as a teen-ager and had even had her picture

taken with my daughter. But she adamantly refused to deal with my agony over

my daughter's absence and her inability to be found ever at home or inability to pick up gifts

and money. And from her statements, I could see that

she had little money over each month and that numerous, illegal withdrawals by other

claimants were being made from her account.  Also, because I received my daughter's bank statements, by my daughter's request,

I discovered that the bank statements, themselves, were forgeries, without the proper colored

logo. I even reported this to a lawyer, who didn't dispute it. So the crux of the matter

is that dishonest people can walk around in honest uniforms and get away with big crimes.

 
October 16, 2008, 11:58 am CDT

Empty Nest Blues

just to speak from the other side here.

 

I just left the nest, and all parents should know what a HELLL of a time is really is. After you help us unpack in our dorms, or wherever and say " seeya at thanksgiving!" we really are struggling just as much as you are, we just try not to show it. In my case, my relationship with my family has never been better. (:

 
November 11, 2008, 1:41 pm CST

Empty Nest Blues

Quote From: grandmanomore

Ive been an empty nester for two years now and completely understand the loneliness and worry of all the bloggers here.  To add to this already depressing state, my precious 2 ½ year old grandson (from my oldest child [a son who had two children and one on the way), was tortured and murdered by his mother, my sons fiancé.  I have spent the last seven months of these past two years, not only missing my children and those innocent years of their childhood, but grieving the horrific, senseless loss of such an innocent, perfect soul whom I loved so deeply as well.  Reading the posted stories here led me to wanting to share just how I have gotten through it all with the hope that maybe this will help some of you.  Early after my youngest child (a daughter) was gone, I too cried and cried.  I felt as though no one could know or understand how badly I hurt or how very much I missed both my daughters.  Then one day months later as I cleaned out a file cabinet in my office, I came across a poem I had saved several years before that helped me come to more of an acceptance of the real role I play in my childrens lives.  The poem follows, but Ill tell you too how I have managed to get through the grief of losing my grandson since even though it was a loss through death, it was none the less a loss of a child, therefore relevant to the grieving associated with being an empty nester as well.  I started writing in a spiral notebook, pouring my heart onto the page.  From the beginning through the shock and horror of it all, through the gut wrenching tasks associated with planning his funeral and burying him, right to the present day.  (I think Im writing a book).  My point is that writing my feelings down and then later being able to reflect on them as I made my way through the stages of grief, back and forth through many of them, helped me find my place of acceptance.  It will always be a tragedy, but I have a very strong faith and know that not only will I get through all of this, but that my beautiful grandson is now home where he belongs and finally safe.  Remember that loss of any kind comes with a grieving process that we will go through whether we are aware of it or not.  Being aware however, of each stage as we go through it and understanding why we feel the way we do, can make the process a little easier to bear.  Thats where writing and later reading my writing helped me.  I hope that I have been some encouragement to anyone who feels lost in their grief.  I found that even a little support and encouragement was helpful in these sad times.

This poem is a by author (poet and philosopher) Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) from his book The Prophet published in 1923.

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said,

Speak to us of children.

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Lifes longing for itself.

They come through you but are not from you.

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls.

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent

forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite and

he bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archers hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves also the bow that is stable.

 

God bless you all with the comfort you seek. 

I just want to share my mother's story with you, that is partially my story too. Long made short here, when I was 17, my 22 year old sister and her 2 year old son were murdered. My brother, 21 at the time, was overseas in the military. My sister had not been home all that long as her husband had been in the military also. Just as she was settling in and my mom was growing so close to her first grandchild they were ripped out of our lives. Being the basket case my mom is, and I say that with respect! She still allowed me to be a normal 17 year old. Now haveing an absolutely beautiful 14 year old daughter of my own, how hard it must have been for  my mother, even when I thought she was a total wreck of a persona and cried everynight for at least three years, I know because I heard her. Anyway, at 17, 6 months after my sister and nephews death she let me fly to Germany ALONE to stay with my brother and his wife for 4 months.  I cannot believe the strength it must have taken. I never realized until my daughter recently started talking about college and AHHHHH! I am already crying about it! But when I think of what my mom went thru, I tell myself not to be selfish and  to let her live her life. I am the stable bow, she is the arrow and she will hit her mark, make a mark on the world and she will always call home for her mom when she needs me. My mom always had Khalil Gibrans books in the house but I never read them. Maybe that's what gave her the sanity to keep living and letting my brother and I make her crazy all these 20 years after my sisters death. A mothers work is truly never done. God bless you!

 
December 23, 2008, 6:45 am CST

adult children making my life hell

I am the proud mother of 3 adult children. I brag about them to anyone who will listen. I am so proud of them. So why did I put the title on my message? Because despite the fact I am so proud of them, compliment them and would love to have a great relationship it always seems that at least one of them has a major issue with me and they rewrite history to suit whatever issue they want to make into a major drama. I have 4 wonderful grandchildren but either my kids or their spouses will play the "I'm keeping the grandkids from you" game. Although I have a wonderful husband who treats my kids as his own it is fast working on our marriage when he sees me so distressed and he would like to take care of the problem but at the same time realizes the results.

 

It isn't bad enough when ONE of them gets into an uproar but they will then drag at least one sibling into it also and win them over to their side. This occurs on a regular basis and the stress is attacking me physically. I have high blood pressure which I have been hospitalized for ( the kids were not privy to that information when it happened because they were displaying another  drama episode at the time) and I have recently been diagnoised with diabetes as well as battling another major health issue. I always dreamed that once the kids left and the teenage years were over that I would not only be able to have an adult relationship with my kids but that they would act like adults also and I would finally be able to begin to enjoy life and do things for me. Instead I cannot spend any money on myself no matter how hard I work for it due to the fact that one of them at least will be making an issue out of money stating they need this or that or this bill needs paid or that payment is behind. I have helped them out but it never seems to end for at least one of them. This particular adult child is constantly living above their means with new cars, big homes they rent and numerous other perks that I could never even think about when I was raising children such as eating out every day of the week, hair and nail appointments, numerous shopping sprees etc.

 

The most recent episode is that one of my children is now suing me. When this child was younger they were in an accident and they got some money from it. We are NOT talking about alot of money and the amount nowhere even reached a six digit figure as the injuried child bragged to many people that they needed multiple banks to hold it all which was a total lie. When the child turned 18 they quickly went through it. Their father spent some too but a very small portion.  Court documents back all this up. But they now want all the money back that is now gone used in various spending sprees by the child as well as their friends that the child would take out and give money to. When the child did have this money numerous people including parents of the child's friends attemped to get the child to come live with them in the hope they could get some help with their mortgage or other bills. Now It's like the child wants his cake and eat it too. So now the child is actually attempting to have me thrown into jail on grand theft charges and sue me for the money they already got. It doesn't help any that the spouse to be, the mother of the spouse to be and the extended family are in dire financial straits either and see this as a save all for their present situation which will become worse even if by some miracle they managed to get money. The family has a legal and financial history of getting money from lawsuits, blowing it and then going back to beg for more money or sue whichever the case is.

 

Am I the only parent on the face of the earth that has the issue of adult children ABUSING which is what it is, their parent(s)?????????? I am tired of being put through hell and back for choices and decisions adults (children) make. When do I fight back? When do I walk away? Or do I ever do either?  Advice?

 
January 25, 2009, 9:45 pm CST

I'm the child feeling the empty nest blues...

This is my fifth year at a college that is 200 miles from home (about a 3 hour drive). I go home every summer but I still am having separation anxiety from my parents. A high school teammate of my softball team goes to the same college. When I was a sophomore her dad died suddenly. He was considerably older than my parents but every since then I have a huge fear of my parents dying. If I think about it I start tearing up and feel the urge to just leave school all together and go home. I have focused my career goals around something that I can use to take care of them when I graduate (i.e. Nursing or medical field). I want to move back home and will only accept a job if it is close to my hometown. My dad had a heart stint put in last fall and I have just been overwhelmed with the thought of him dying ever since. I just keep thinking back to my friend and how she could have been home with her dad and how she possibly regrets that she was at college instead of spending more time with her dad. My life kinda revolves around my dad. I know this is biased but he can do just about anything. He does my taxes, he fixes my car (its not his profession but he's so good he once put an entire new motor in my car), he takes care of things in my apartment at school, and he does numerous other small things like that. I'm on athletic scholarship for tuition and books but I take out loans for living expenses but my parents take care of my cell phone, car insurance, health insurance, exc. so if anything happened to them I wouldn't know what to do. My older sister is causing extreme stress on both of them because she is getting in with the wrong crowd and is about to lose custody of my niece (whom my dad absolutely loves). He would be heartbroken without her and I think this stress could cause my dad a heart attack so I've been extremely worried lately. I argue with my sister and tell her that if she causes my dad to die that I will never forgive her (and I wouldn't). At this point I will graduate in Dec 2009 but I just want to pack up and come home to a community college to do nursing. My degree at college will be in Chemistry but I want to do nursing now bc a job with a chem degree will not likely be open in my small town. Also, my granny used to be one of those 55 year olds who looked like early forties, now she is beginning to really show her age and I'm getting very scared about her too bc of her health problems. I call my parents twice a day and also call my granny several times and usually have an hour or two long conversation on a daily basis (however, my parents don't like to stay on the phone and talk as long as she does).  How can I stop constantly obsessing about my parents and granny dying and more importantly how can I prepare so that when it enivitably does happen that it doesn't destroy my life?
 
January 28, 2009, 12:01 pm CST

Future nurse & caretaker

Quote From: acurreylc2

This is my fifth year at a college that is 200 miles from home (about a 3 hour drive). I go home every summer but I still am having separation anxiety from my parents. A high school teammate of my softball team goes to the same college. When I was a sophomore her dad died suddenly. He was considerably older than my parents but every since then I have a huge fear of my parents dying. If I think about it I start tearing up and feel the urge to just leave school all together and go home. I have focused my career goals around something that I can use to take care of them when I graduate (i.e. Nursing or medical field). I want to move back home and will only accept a job if it is close to my hometown. My dad had a heart stint put in last fall and I have just been overwhelmed with the thought of him dying ever since. I just keep thinking back to my friend and how she could have been home with her dad and how she possibly regrets that she was at college instead of spending more time with her dad. My life kinda revolves around my dad. I know this is biased but he can do just about anything. He does my taxes, he fixes my car (its not his profession but he's so good he once put an entire new motor in my car), he takes care of things in my apartment at school, and he does numerous other small things like that. I'm on athletic scholarship for tuition and books but I take out loans for living expenses but my parents take care of my cell phone, car insurance, health insurance, exc. so if anything happened to them I wouldn't know what to do. My older sister is causing extreme stress on both of them because she is getting in with the wrong crowd and is about to lose custody of my niece (whom my dad absolutely loves). He would be heartbroken without her and I think this stress could cause my dad a heart attack so I've been extremely worried lately. I argue with my sister and tell her that if she causes my dad to die that I will never forgive her (and I wouldn't). At this point I will graduate in Dec 2009 but I just want to pack up and come home to a community college to do nursing. My degree at college will be in Chemistry but I want to do nursing now bc a job with a chem degree will not likely be open in my small town. Also, my granny used to be one of those 55 year olds who looked like early forties, now she is beginning to really show her age and I'm getting very scared about her too bc of her health problems. I call my parents twice a day and also call my granny several times and usually have an hour or two long conversation on a daily basis (however, my parents don't like to stay on the phone and talk as long as she does).  How can I stop constantly obsessing about my parents and granny dying and more importantly how can I prepare so that when it enivitably does happen that it doesn't destroy my life?

 

 

Your post is heart warming;  daughter/grandaughter that appreciates and deeply cares about her family.  Your fear of loss is totally understandable, but living in fear of a natural event, that is going to happen someday, must put a cover of anxiety over your life. 

 

I too, had an overwhelming fear of losing both of my parents, but my fears and worries did not prevent the inevitable from happening and now I wonder if it prevented me from enjoying the time I had with them.

 

You will never regret caring for your parents & grandparents, it is admirable and generous , but it sounds like the fears you have may have too much control of your life choices.  That's just my opinion and I may be all wrong, since you sound very intelligent and successful.  

Also,  reading your perceptions of health, stress and family genetics(your grandmother ) it's clear you are very intelligent and observant.   I have always found intelligent, observant people to be worriers because they analyze every detail of life and can project future developments. 

 

 
April 8, 2009, 8:30 am CDT

Empty nest = parents not wanting their own indepence

People always bring up the views of the parents when their children leave then a nest as well as children coming back in adulthood; but never views from the children that have there parents trying to come back to them.

I was raised by a single parent for most of my life... and it more so developed into a team rather than a family. She treated us as equals and we would try to balance the efforts out (my mother worked so I'd do the chores to pick up slack). When she was sad I'd be around to cheer her up and listen to her... so I grew up as a pretty mature child.

I'm now in my mid 24 and am the older of my brother and I. I left for college 6 years ago, move 24 hours away, and have been doing fine and I enjoy my independence (I wanted to be north, hated the florida heat, and wanted more independence that I couldn't get by emotionally taking care of my mom and brother). Last year my mother move up to my state and is falling back in to the old ways and she really doesn't respect my space and independence. She doesn't have any friends here and isn't social enough to go out and meet people so she falls back on me. I may not be the most social but I try and it's not easy when she visits every weekend. I'm not the type of person that makes plans for the weekend early in the week. I'm young and single so I pretty much like just deciding saturday morning... maybe I'll call some friends and we'll hang out and watch a movie. I can't do that when she shows up every saturday morning or friday night. It's not like she stays for a few hours either. She spends the weekend. I only live in a one bedroom apt. so it's not like I can hide her if I want friends over.

Once I wanted to go to the movies so she was like "Fine... I'll just crash at your place while you're out"... "What if we want to hang out here when we're done." was my reply. She said "Fine... just tell me when they are gone so I can come over." When I said... that they were probably crashing here since we had plans for the next day and they way they wouldn't have to commute all the way home she had a pouty fit.

I've tried to explain it to her but everytime I do she's like "no... i understand" but really she doesn't. She wants to get a boyfriend as well but how will she meet people by always coming to my place. How can I build a social life and get a boyfriend myself if I can have my space again?

It's been a year since she moved here and she needs to start forming her own independence.
 
June 12, 2009, 10:28 pm CDT

what to do

 My son who is 18 years old just graduated from high school a week ago.  I had a celebration for him on Friday.  Everything turn out beautiful, everyone came and we had a great time with friends and family.  Come Sunday night my son is in his room and I come into say goodnight and ask about his Saturday after graduation.  They had what they call a lockdown at the local university with all the seniors.  I proceed with several questions about some gifts that he received at his graduation party on Friday.  Well he snaps at me and replies with  Why are you asking so many questions. I was very hurt so I say goodnight and leave his room.  The next day I ask him if he wants to go with me to check out a vehicle that my husband might purchase for him.  He says no in a rude manner.  I was so saddened by his behavior that I just leave the room. Then my husband calls me and I start to cry.  Feeling like my son doesn't want anything to do with me.  I'm upset so when my son comes to ask what is wrong I refuse to talk to him.  Then later he leaves and tells me he;s going to look for an apartment to live in.  Mind you he just graduated on Saturday this is Monday.  I'm very upset.  To make a long story short I've spoken to him but he hasn't returned home.  He's staying at a friends house and says he's moving out.  My husband says let him be.  I just don't like that he's imposing on his friend's family.  He has a vehicle to get around but no job and no money.
 
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